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Which cooking oil is the healthiest?

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200903-which-cooking-oil-is-the-healthiest

bbc.com

Which cooking oil is the healthiest?
Oils are all packed with fat and calories, but their chemistry – and effect on our health – can be very different.

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Cooking oils

Cooking oils

Cooking oils tend to get their name from the nuts, seeds, fruits, plants, or cereals they're extracted from.

They're characterised by their high-fat content, including saturated fat, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Consuming too much saturated fat - more than 20g for women and 30g for men per day - makes the body produce cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease.

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Fat molecules in oils

Fat molecules are made of chains of fatty acids that are held together with single bonds (saturated) or double bonds (unsaturated.)

There are three types of fatty acids: Short, medium, and long chain.

  • Short and medium chain fatty acids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and used for energy.
  • Long chain fatty acids are transported to the liver, which raises blood cholesterol levels.

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Coconut oil

Studies show that coconut oil increases harmful cholesterol (LDL -low-density lipoprotein) and beneficial cholesterol (HDL - high-density lipoprotein). They also contain a high amount of lauric acid, which raises HDL levels in the blood more than LDL levels.

But lauric acid is not that healthy. It is categorized as a C12 fatty acid and is at the limit of a medium-chain fatty acid. Roughly 70% of C12s act as long-chain fatty acids, which are stored in the liver as fat, and over time, can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Oils to consider

Experts advise opting for an oil lower in saturated fat and higher in other types of fats that are healthy in moderation.

Polyunsaturated fat (including Omega 3 and 6) and monounsaturated fat reduce cholesterol levels. They also provide essential fatty acids and vitamins.

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Olive oil

Olive oil is known for being the healthiest of plant oils. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which contain vitamins and minerals, and polyphenols.

Olive oil can decrease the risk of heart disease by 15 %. It also has beneficial effects on gut microbiota. Extra virgin olive oil can be beneficial in preventing cancer and type 2 diabetes. It is especially beneficial when it's not cooked.

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Benefits of the Traditional Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet 

  • reduces the risk of heart disease
  • is associated with a lower level of the "bad" cholesterol
  • is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. 

Key components of the Mediterranean diet

  • Eating of primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise.

What successful diets have in common

  • Low in added sugar. 
  • Eliminate refined carbs. 
  • Avoid vegetable oils high in Omega-6 Fat.
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